Monday, May 30, 2011
The name Gus Nichols continues to be remembered by members of the Lord's Church, especially in the south. Brother Nichols preached in Jasper, Alabama for over 40 years. That included sermons, Bible classes, a daily radio program, and more. The amount of "material" he produced in his lifetime is astounding, to say the least.
Brother Nichols was once asked how he could continue to preach and teach after thousands upon thousands of sermons and lessons. His answer, while pointing to a Bible, was, "There are still 10,000 more sermons in there that I have yet to preach!"
When I first read this story, I thought back to my dad. I have no idea how many sermons, Bible classes, radio lessons, lectureships, VBS lessons and more he has done in over 30 years of preaching the Gospel. As a kid, I used to wonder how he could possibly keep "coming up" with ideas for sermons that were new and helpful.
Then, I began to study more deeply from God's Word. Brother Nichols' statement began to become reality. There are countless lessons just waiting to be taught!
I once heard brother Alan Highers (editor of Spiritual Sword) state that every time he read the Bible, he learned something new. Our God is wise enough to write a book that is simple enough for us to gain what we need from it quickly, but deep enough that we will never "mine its depths" completely.
When is the last time you picked up the Bible and read it? When is the last time you studied a book, topic, person, or theme in an in-depth manner and gained greater knowledge from the Bible?
There are more than 10,000 more sermons to be found and taught. Why not pick up the Bible and discover one of them today?
- Adam Faughn serves as the pulpit minister for the Lebanon Road church of Christ in Nashville, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation’s website at: http://www.lebanonroadchurchofchrist.org
God is a binder. He binds Himself to people in covenant relationship and He binds people to each other in family relationships. Much of the Law and wisdom literature of the Hebrews addresses the enduring respect that children are to have for parents and the loving obligation the parents have for children. So strong was this bond that Hebrews preserved genealogies so that their family lineage was traceable back to Abraham through one of the sons of Jacob. Both Matthew and Luke provide such a lineage for Jesus in introducing Him to us in their respective gospel accounts. Family matters. As I like to say, “Blood is thicker than water”.
Into this scene of accusation and division caused by the scribes come the mother and brothers of Jesus. As was customary, the others tried to respectfully usher them into His presence. In one of those wonderful moments found throughout His life, Jesus surprises us. Instead of receiving them in honor, He “rejects” them publicly. Has He not just “divided His house against itself”? Is Jesus violating the Law by treating His mother in this manner? On the surface it appears so, and even worse for a respected Rabbi, He apparently contradicted His teaching with His actions. The crowd (with us looking in over their shoulders) is ripe for His powerful point. The family that is bound together by doing the Father’s will is the “blood family” of Jesus.
Hebrews were Hebrews by birth. Christians are Christians by being born again. Hebrews were heirs to an inheritance of land and property in the “promised land” by birth (and birth order), Christians are adopted into the family and given full rights of full inheritance in the everlasting kingdom. The family of Abraham was God’s chosen vessel to bring Messiah into the world. The family of God in Christ (the church) is God’s chosen vessel to bring the saved into heaven. The blood shed on the cross went back in time to cover sins and rolls ever forward in time until time is no more. God is a binder. He binds those who do His will together by the blood of His Son Jesus. Mary and her other sons were to be bound to Jesus more fully and forcefully than by mere genetics. He did not reject them, He gave them the opportunity to receive Him.
In thinking on these things, take a moment to think through the implications of everything that has transpired in the narrative since Jesus appointed the twelve. The minions of evil were cast out so that people could receive truth. The perceived purveyors of truth (the scribes) accused Jesus of working for Satan. Jesus obliterated their false charge and taught us about unity and the seriousness of sin. With the identification of His true family, He brought into clear focus the nature of Christianity. The church is not a club, it is the binding together by blood those who do the will of God in Christ Jesus into a divine family that glorifies its Father. The way that we treat our brothers and sisters is inextricably linked to the doing the will of the Father. It was John to whom Jesus committed the care of His mother, Mary, while He hung on the cross ... and, it was John who penned the thoughts of the Holy Spirit of God, saying, “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious. Whoever does not do righteousness is not of God; neither is one who does not love his brother” (1 John 3:10). Family matters.
- Lee Jamison, Columbia, Tenn; via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
It is a lesson that one learns early in life— decisions are costly! One who chooses unwisely and incorrectly will likely pay dearly for his foolish decision, and the one who decides to stand firm for what is godly and right may also pay a high price for such a decision. Since a price is involved whether right or wrong, one may elect to play it safe and make no decision. This person does not understand that failing or refusing to make a decision is a decision. Such can have disastrous consequences regarding spiritual matters. The Lord made it very clear: "He that is not with me is against me" (Mat. 12:30). This means that every time one fails to make a decision for God he has just made a decision against God.
Let us consider what it cost Moses to make the monumental decision to serve God and his people and flee the land of Egypt.
Moses refuses to be called the son of the Pharaoh's daughter (Heb. 11:24). It is difficult to imagine what it cost Moses materially to turn his back on the Pharaoh and his family. The earthly riches that would have belonged to Moses had he remained in Egypt as a son of the Pharaoh's daughter cannot be adequately described. Robert Boyd in World's Bible Handbook states:
When archaeologists opened the tomb of Tutankhamen (King "Tut" to us) in 1922, their eyes gazed upon an untold wealth of personal belongings for his future life. His solid gold coffin has a current value of $2,750,000. The jewelry is priceless and his throne and furniture were overlaid with gold. Such "burial" wealth gives us an idea of the personal wealth of a single Pharaoh.
Moses decides to give up the social status that he will enjoy in Egypt. As the son of an Egyptian princess, Moses received an education that was second to none. He was qualified to serve in any facet of Egyptian government, and could have become a Pharaoh himself. No other nation surpassed Egypt with knowledge in science, law, and architecture (cf. Acts 7:22). This wisdom was not restricted to just pyramids and temples as Boyd again notes:
Scientists have discovered how Egyptian craftsmen produced brilliant colors—paintings for their Temple walls and ceilings. We are fortunate if we can find paint produced by today's technologists which lasts more than twenty years on our houses! Yes, Egyptian paint has lasted more than 3,500 years. The blues and reds and yellows of ancient Egypt, whether on stone or metal, have remained vivid. Scientists (1970) of the Egyptian Department of Antiquity, worked over three years and spent more than two million dollars to "break the historic formula." The formula includes one molecule each of copper oxide and four molecules of silicone oxide. The resulting compound is heated to 1,050 degrees centigrade, and then ground and mixed with egg yolk and gum. This compound resists heat as high as 1,700 degrees C. and is insoluble in the most potent acids known to modern science. The ancients obtained the stable color by trapping copper oxide atoms in a ring of hydrogen, produced by the ions of the egg yoke and acid from the gum.
Moses decides to identify with godly people instead of ungodly people. A person cannot have it both ways. Moses, in reminding his people of God's laws, says, "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil" (Deu. 30:15). Christ teaches that people must choose to travel either the broad way that leads to destruction or the straitened way that leads to eternal life (Mat. 7:13-14). People today must understand that they cannot successfully walk with God while holding hands with the world (cf. 2 Cor. 6:14-18). Joshua is another man who realizes that costly decisions must be made. To his friends and his people he says, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve Jehovah, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah" (Jos. 24:15).
Moses decides to forego the temporary pleasures of sin and chooses instead to "share ill treatment with the people of God" (Heb. 11:24-25). Moses knew the outcome of his decision when he made it. The Scriptures say that he accounts "the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt" (Heb. 11:26). Moses knew that faithfully serving God would produce a life of suffering and hardship. The high price of this decision Moses made is seen in what he was willing to forego and what he was willing to endure.
Moses decides to go to Heaven and is willing to pay the price. He understands that sin's glitter is not as advertised by Satan. He understands "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). Moses looks "unto the recompense of reward" (Heb. 11:26). So should we! Keep your mind on firmly focused on things above (Col. 3:2), and remember that decisions are costly.
- Marvin L. Weir, Paris, TX; via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC. Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org
Monday, May 23, 2011
I don’t know anyone that was involved, but feel very emotional whenever I think of the young ladies and gentlemen that lost their lives that day. I feel equally as sad for the parents of the children that died that day. They will never be able to hold them, tell them how much they love them, or to see them graduate and go on to lead a productive life. I also feel for the parents of the young man that felt so much rage that day, to take so many lives and also to take his own. It seems that there were signs given to show that this young man was, in his own way crying out for help.
t appears whenever something of this magnitude happens the first thing that is said is “Oh God”. Why isn’t it that “Oh Devil” should be the first thing said? Our Lord didn’t cause this tragedy. Satan relishes this opportunity to cause anger, hurt, and pain in our lives. He was successful in getting all aspects of God out of the school, prayer in school, and also anything that has to do with the bible. After something like this happens the first thing that people want to do is talk to God. Why isn’t it a priority before something this sad happens?
- Submitted by Terry & Brenda Standerfer, members of the Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL (firstname.lastname@example.org). Ron Thomas serves as preacher and an elder for the congregations and he may be contacted through at: http://www.highwaycofc.com
Poe, in his heyday, was unparalleled as a literary critic, editor, poet and author of short stories. Most of us have probably had our spines tingled by The Pit and the Pendulum or The Tell-Tale Heart or The Raven. His works have indeed left their mark.
But the mark left by his life is another story. Poe lost his young bride through a bitter case of tuberculosis. By that time, alcohol and drug abuse, along with involvement in the occult and Satanism, had proved to be his undoing. Depression and insanity plagued his short life, eventually leaving him unconscious in the gutter of a windswept street inBaltimore . Four days later he died, having never regained consciousness. –From the Internet
“The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of transgressors is hard”(Proverbs 13:14, 15).
- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
Monday, May 16, 2011
More and more the winning of lost souls must rest upon the work of those who will do personal evangelism. It is a work of unselfishness and love to give one’s heart and labor to teach the gospel of Christ personally to those who are willing to study. Souls can be won for Christ if Christians will make the sacrifice to reach out to those who do not know the gospel.
Preachers must not only preach from the pulpit but must do personal studies if they expect to be successful in soul winning. We need only to read the personal advertisements for ministers in our publications to see that many congregations realize the importance of personal evangelism. These congregations are seeking applicants who can preach sermons and do personal work.
When we open our Bibles to the book of Acts, we see right away that this was the case in the early church. Look at the example of Philip, who preached to the Samarians. Many obeyed the gospel, yet Philip ran to join himself to the chariot of an Ethiopian eunuch so that he could preach to him Jesus (Acts 8:26-40). Paul, after his conversion, taught the jailer (Acts 16:23-34). Lydia (Acts 16:13-15) and others on a one-on-one basis. Peter went to Cornelius and preached to him the gospel (Acts 10:1-48). Cornelius and his house obeyed the gospel and were saved. These good men, great gospel preachers, not only were saved. These good men, great gospel preachers, not only preached to large crowds but missed no opportunity to teach individuals.
We need to read Acts again to see how the early church reached out to the lost. In Acts chapter eight, we see how the Christians at Jerusalem were scattered abroad and went everywhere preaching Jesus. We need to turn back to this effective and Biblical method of reaching lost souls to be successful in our own communities.
- Dale Grissiom has for many years served as an elder and minister for the Dexter church of Christ in Dexter, MO. Travis L. Quertermous preaches for the congregation. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.dexterchurchofchrist.com/
Sometimes I try to "visit" our church. You should try it sometime.
Walk through the door as though you've never been there. Drive into our parking log for the first time. Try to find your classroom. Sit down for worship in the auditorium. What do you see? What do you hear? Who talked to you that you didn't know? What kind of experience are you having? Would you return?
It is very likely that the large majority of people who read this have grown up going to church. That's a wonderful thing - but sometimes it can be really easy to forget what it's like to go to a church for the first time.
I heard one person say that if we welcomed people into our homes like we welcome them to our church they would never want to come over for dinner again. Imagine going to someone's house and being invited in. You see a sea of people you do not know. Someone shakes your hand and then walks away - unaware that they are leaving you alone to fend for yourself. You get excluded in conversations when people talk about things you've never heard of. The people slip into conversaions using jargon only they understand. You don't even know why everyone is gathered there. They don't see that you are a little nervous to be there. In fact, it feels as though they don't see you.
Who would put themselves through that for a second time?
I love God. Odds are if you are reading this, well ... you do too. I also love people. Again, odds are that if you're reading this, well ... you do too. When you connect God with people amazing things can happen.
Do you want to connect people to the Creator? Do you want to be a part of a community of believers that not only talk about Christ's love - but live it? Visiti our church. View it with fresh eyes. With people like you - we're off to a great start.
- via Estes Echo, the weekly bulletin for the Estes church of Christ, Henderson, TN. You can visit their website at www.estes.tn.org
It was the coldest winter ever—many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together. This way they covered and protected themselves; the problem was that the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other.
After awhile they decided to distance themselves one from the other—but they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth.
Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. They learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationship with their companions, but the most important part of it was the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.
Moral of the story: The best relationships are not the ones that bring together perfect people. The best ones are when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person’s good qualities.
Monday, May 9, 2011
It has long been acknowledged that the problem of suffering is that which atheists and infidels use as their “proof” that God does not exist. Just a few weeks ago, one of our national newscasts had a segment dealing with tragedies and catastrophic illness or accidents as being the reason why some have given up their belief in God. Some on that program, said that dealing with such unpleasantness caused them to cease to believe in God. Their wonder was, “Why did God let this happen?”
The basis of this is highly selfish on man's part, for it says this: “I only believe in God if He performs according to my expectations.” In the Old Testament, Naaman was on the verge of rejecting the healing God had for him because of his own expectations as to how God would act (2 Kings 5:11,12). What kind of audacity is this that puts man in the position of being the creature that replies to the Creator, and refuses to believe unless the Creator performs to the whim and fancy of man? Does the creature thus reply to the Creator (Romans 9:20)?
There are two or three considerations in this general area:
(1) Man was made a creature of free will action. This means that man has the freedom to do wrong, if he chooses. It means, then, that he can be guided by evil motives and even make a move against me or my family; he can bring great hurt and sorrow to me, if he so desires. It is not that God is guiding him; rather he is not letting God guide him and that's why his sinfulness has touched me. The drunken driver runs over and kills a little child. It happens because we have freedom of will.
(2) Men can suffer because they violate the natural laws God has made. They may do this intentionally, or they may do this accidental. In either case, the hurt and sorrow can be brought upon men because of it. A man working 150 feet in the air can make an error of judgment and fall to his death. It was not that God caused it to be, but through accidental circumstance, a natural law of God was breached and sorrow is the result.
(3) Men can suffer because they violate man-made laws, brought into being within the will of God. We think now of civil powers, ordained of God (Romans 13), and in violation of these one might well suffer heavy penalty, even to be put to death. There is hurt to him, and hurt to his family. Why did God let it happen? Again, God did not cause it; man has freedom of will and can use it to his own hurt, and hurt to those around him.
(4) Men can suffer simply due to the imperfection in this world, brought to such a state because of sin. The whole of creation has been given life, and some of that, having good purpose in some cases, can have an evil product when it touches a man. Hence, the matter of disease, infection, illness.
There are those circumstances of an accidental nature that happen when natural laws react in an unusual fashion. That is one price we pay in living in a sinful world, and a world made so by man's misbehavior!
In sum, an imperfect world is a reality.
God uses it as a training ground, suiting man for eternity with Him. Rather than giving up faith in seeing imperfection, we should be thankful that some suffering is in the world. If it were not, then Christ would not have suffered for us, and then where would we be?
Again, we say, man proves his own basic selfishness when he overlooks the world made so by his own sin, overlooks purposes that can be served in man facing suffering in this life, overlooks the price to be paid in having freedom of will, overlooks what is involved in living by God's natural laws- and then declares, “I will not believe in God unless He acts as I want Him to!”
- Bill Jackson (Deceased); via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC. Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org
On His way to Jerusalem Jesus was met by ten lepers to whom He gave this command, “Go and show yourselves to the priests” (Luke 17:14). As they were obeying that command, all ten were cleansed of their leprosy. One of them (one-tenth, ten percent of them) went back to Jesus. He then 1) praised God with a loud voice, 2) fell at Jesus’ feet, and 3) thanked Him. His overall gratitude for his healing must have been the motivation for his worship.
The Lord’s immediate response, as given by Luke, was, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?” He noticed. He observed that of the ten whom He healed only one came to worship. Have you ever wondered, “Where were the nine?”
I would like to know more about this event but only Luke was inspired with this information, and, through it is all we have, it is very brief. Thus, we are left to speculate about the nine. However, because humanity hasn’t changed much since the days our Lord walked the earth, we can speculate because of what we see in the “cleansed” today.
Of the nine, one might have said, “That Jesus has some hypocrites in His company. I don’t care much for Judas. He looks like a ‘shady’ character. Peter is always shooting his mouth off, and James and John seem always to be mad about something. I don’t think I’ll go back to Jesus.”
Another might have said, “I’m too tired to go back to His feet. I’ve had leprosy for a few years. I’ve been sick.” A third could have added, “I can’t wait until I show my wife and kids what just happened to me! Jesus can wait.”
The fourth, “Because of my leprosy I have not been able to work. I’m healed! Now I can go to work in the morning. I’d better get some rest today.”
The first leper had a little different slant o a similar idea. He had been ostracized from society because of his illness, but now that he was clean again, he could socialize. So, he went to a party.
Still another could have said, “He won’t miss me.” After all, there were ten of us. Jesus won’t even notice that I did not go to Him to show gratitude.”
The “entitled” one said, “It’s almost time!”
The eighth might have thought, “I can thank Him later. In the meantime, I will think of Him while I am at home. Does it really matter whether I appear before Him or not?”
Finally, one opined, “If I go back there, Jesus will just preach to me about the kingdom and being prepared or something about sacrifice, and I don’t want to hear it.”
To only one did Jesus say, “Your faith has made you well.”
- via the weekly bulletin of the Lebanon Road church of Christ in Nashville, TN. Adam Faughn serves as the pulpit minister for the congregation, and he may be contacted through the congregation’s website at: http://www.lebanonroadchurchofchrist.org
The incredible news came last Sunday in a note from 2,300 feet underground: 33 Chilean miners trapped for 17 days are still alive! The miners wrote the note and attached it to a drill being used to reach them. “All 33 of us are well inside the shelter,” said the note. The news brought celebration throughout Chile and the rest of the world.
The San Jose gold and copper mine collapsed on August 5, and until rescuers made contact on August 22, the trapped workers struggled to get by on meager supplies, stretching a food supply meant to last two days into rations for two weeks. “They had two little spoonfuls of tuna, a sip of milk and biscuit every 48 hours,” said Dr. Sergio Aguilar, a rescue team physician.
Meanwhile rescue efforts continue…
Rescuers have been able to get food, water, and air to the miners through a narrow hole. Two smaller boreholes are also being drilled to bring in much-needed air to the sweltering men. Although the men have survived almost three weeks since the collapse, rescuers say it will take months to safely dig them out due to instability within the mine. *
The plight – and hope! – of the 33 Chilean miners pictures ANOTHER great rescue effort…
Due to our wrong choices, WE are “trapped” in sin and doomed for destruction. And just as the Chilean miners are doomed without help from above, we are also powerless without “HELP FROM ABOVE” to save ourselves from sin!
But God, because of His great love and mercy (Ephesians 2:4), sent Jesus to our rescue. Jesus gave His life to save us from sin (Ephesians 1:7). Through Him we can be saved.
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” – Romans 5:6,8-9
Jesus will save those who: place their faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) in His name for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will bring to eternal safety those who continue to follow Him faithfully (1 John 1:7).
“Knowing that someone is coming for you makes it easier, “said John Urosek, head of emergency operations for the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, concerning the hope of the trapped Chilean miners.
The Good News (the Gospel) is that Jesus has ALREADY come to the rescue of those trapped in sin! He is ready to save those who will trust and obey Him.
Won’t YOU accept His salvation on His terms?
- David A. Sargent, minister for the church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water. To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org
Monday, May 2, 2011
Someone has composed the following "Top Ten" list of signs you may not be reading your Bible enough:
10) The Preacher announces the sermon is from Galatians..... and you check the table of contents.
9) You think Abraham, Isaac & Jacob may have had a few hit songs during the 60's.
8) You open to the Gospel of Luke and a WWII savings bond falls out.
7) Your favorite Old Testament patriarch is Hercules.
6) Your favorite Bible verse is "Cleanliness is next to godliness."
5) You become frustrated because Charlton Heston isn't listed in either the concordance or the table of contents.
4) You catch the kids reading the Song of Solomon, and demand: "Who gave you this stuff?"
3) You think the Minor Prophets worked in the quarries.
2) You keep falling for it every time when the preacher tells you to turn to First Condominiums.
And the number one sign you may not be reading your Bible enough:
1) The kids keep asking too many questions about your usual bedtime story: "Jonah the Shepherd Boy and His Ark of Many Colors."
It's hard to over-estimate the importance of reading and studying the Bible. God's Word is our source of spiritual nourishment, our light in the midst of a dark world, our mirror to see what needs to be corrected in our lives. And yet, it is so easy to let other things get in the way and interrupt time we have wanted to dedicate to Bible reading.
"Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day." (Psa. 119:97)
Have you read your Bible today?
- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the White House church of Christ in White House, TN, may be contacted at email@example.com
"Rabbi?" asked little Melvin "there's something I need to know."
"What's that my child?" asked the Rabbi.
"Well, according to the Scriptures, the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea , right?"
"And the Children of Israel beat up the Philistines, right?"
"Uh ... right."
"And the Children of Israel built the Temple , right?"
"Again you are correct."
"And the Children of Israel fought the Egyptians, and the Children of Israel fought the Romans, and the Children of Israel were always doing something important, right?"
"All that is correct," agreed the Rabbi. "So what's your question?"
"What I need to know is this," demanded Melvin.
"What were all the grown-ups doing?"
- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com
After the prophet debated with God about the difficult times to come, he finally yielded to God’s Word. He acknowledged that although difficult times were inevitable, he would exult in the Lord and rejoice. He was going to trust God to help him rise above it all. When we see trouble on the horizon, do we trust or run? Ten years ago, we were facing Y2K. Remember the predictions that everything would stop in 2000? Would we have been faithful if everything stopped? When everything stops, that is the when we need to be most faithful. Let’s trust the Lord in good times and especially in bad times.
- via The Lantern, Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL Visit their website as http://www.highwaycofc.com
By Joe Chesser
The United States Congress issues a Medal of Honor to members of the armed forces who distinguish themselves “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.” Many service men and women have received this medal over the years. Since 1941, over half of them received it posthumously.
The idea of above and beyond the call of duty intrigues me. What would motivate a man or woman to do that, to go beyond the call of duty? I haven’t researched it, but I doubt seriously if the motivation of those who have received the Medal of Honor was to receive the medal. Why would someone endanger their life for a medal, especially a medal they might never personally receive? No, I suspect there’s got to be something more than that! So, as I thought about it, several things came to mind, but they all filtered down to one basic motivation – love! Those who choose to go above and beyond the call of duty must truly love their country, their unit, and the greater good they are risking their lives to achieve. Anyone can do their duty out of fear of punishment or reward for performance. But love will motivate one to stand apart and to go beyond the call of duty.
People who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength and mind (Mark 12:30) are people who choose to go above and beyond the call of duty. They are the ones who are willing to step out from the crowd and do whatever it takes to serve God (John 14:15). They are the ones who are willing to take up their cross and follow Jesus every day (Luke 9:23). They are the ones who give beyond their ability because they have first given themselves to God (2 Cor. 8:1-5). They are the ones who stop and help those in need along the roadside (Luke 10:29-37). They are the ones who obey God even when they don’t understand why (Luke 5:4-6). They are the ones who never look back once they have put their hands to the plow (Luke 9:62). They are the ones who never ask if Sunday and Wednesday nights are required (Hebrews 10:25). They are the ones who have the courage to tell others about Jesus wherever they are (Acts 8:4). They are the ones who refuse to bind themselves in any ungodly relationship (2 Cor. 6:14-18). They are the ones who choose to worship God in ways that pleases Him, rather than to seek what pleases themselves (John 4:23-24). They are the ones who walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). They are the ones who always put God first in everything they do (Matt. 6:33). They are the ones who are always looking for ways to go above and beyond the call of duty.
And they do it because they love God more than anyone or anything else! Do you love God that much, to go above and beyond basic requirements? If so, you will receive from God something far more honorable and valuable than a Medal of Honor!
- Joe Chesser preaches for the Fruitland church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.cofcfruitland.com/